1. The Monetary Policy outlook for the FED

More hawkish than expected sums up the Sep meeting. The FOMC gave the go ahead for a November tapering announcement as long as the economy develops as expected with their criteria for substantial further progress close to being met. The biggest hawkish tilt was the announcement about a faster pace of tapering, with Chair Powell saying there is broad agreement that tapering can be concluded by mid2022. Inflation projections were hawkish, with the Fed projecting Core PCE above their 2% until 2024. On labour, Chair Powell said he thought the substantial further progress threshold for employment was ‘all but met’ and explained that it won’t take a very strong September jobs print for them to start tapering as just a ‘decent’ print will do. The 2022 Dots stayed very close to the June median, but the rate path was much steeper than markets were anticipating with seven hikes expected over the forecast horizon (from just two previously). It is important here to note though that even though the path was steeper, if one compares that to a projected Core PCE >2% for 2022 to 2024, the rate path does not exactly scream fear when it comes to inflation . All in all, it was a hawkish meeting. Interestingly, it took markets about three days to realize this as the expected price action only really took hold of markets a few days later. A faster tapering was a key factor we were watching for an incrementally bullish tilt in the outlook, so market’s initial reactions were surprising. However, with the recent breakout in both US yields and the USD, this has given us more confidence in moving our fundamental outlook for the Dollar from Neutral to Weak Bullish .

2. Real Yields

With a Q4 taper start and mid-2022 taper conclusion on the card, we think further downside in real yields will be a struggle and the probability are skewed higher given the outlook for growth, inflation and policy, and higher real yields should be supportive for the USD in the med-term .

3. The global risk outlook

One supporting factor for the USD from June was the onset of downside surprises in global growth. However, recent Covid-19 case data from ourworldindata. org has shown a sharp deceleration in new cases globally. Using past occurrences as a template, the reduction in cases is likely to lead to less restrictive measures, which is likely to lead to a strong bounce in economic activity. Thus, even though we have shifted our bias to weak bullish in the med-term , the fall in cases and increased likelihood of a bounce in economic activity could mean downside for the USD from a short to intermediate time horizon (remember a re-acceleration in growth and potentially inflation = reflation)

4. Economic Data

Economic data will be very light in the incoming week with the main highlight being IHS Markit Flash PMI data. However, also keep in mind that the Fed has largely taken the sting out of economic data going into the November FOMC meeting as they have already acknowledged a November taper announcement as well as a possible mid-2022 conclusion. Thus, even though economic data will still be important, it is unlikely that incoming data will sway the Fed from their tapering plans.

5. CFTC Analysis

Latest CFTC data showed a positioning change of +3036 with a net non-commercial position of +35062. Positioning isn’t anywhere near stress levels for the USD, but the speed of the build-up in large specular positioning measures over 2-standard deviation on a 1-year, 6-month and 3- month look back period. Thus, even though the med-term bias remains unchanged, it does mean the USD could be sensitive to mean reversion risks while still trading close to YTD highs. Thus, reflationary data and overall risk sentiment will be a focus for the USD.

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